This study aimed to verify whether psychologists and game activities could reduce preoperative anxiety and promote compliance in paediatric patients. More specifically, we sought to evaluate whether it would be better to propose contextualized games or just distracting activities. A total of 104 children undergoing surgery were assigned to the following 4 conditions of treatment: (1) contextual games and psychological accompaniment, (2) only contextual games, (3) distracting activities, and (4) only psychological accompaniment. Observed children’s anxiety was assessed using modified Yale Preoperative Anxiety Scale and compliant behaviours with modified form of Induction Compliance Checklist. Children in the first condition (complete intervention – contextual games and psychological accompaniment) were less anxious and more cooperative in the preoperative period and during the induction of anaesthesia than in the other three conditions. In particular, contextual activities (second condition) were found to be more efficient than psychological accompaniment (fourth condition), whereas the worst condition was proposing only distracting activities (third condition). In order to help young hospitalized patients in paediatric surgery structures, it is necessary to propose games that can prepare them for what will happen as well as the support of a psychologist.
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